“The constitution of the party provides for either direct, indirect or consensus but for the presidential election primaries, we will adopt direct…”
– NWC, NEC disagree on direct, indirect methods
– Senators battle governors over process
Willy Eya, Romanus Ugwu, Tunde Thomas and Fred Itua
Ahead of next year’s general elections, a fresh crisis is brewing in the All Progressives Congress (APC), over the kind of primaries to adopt for the selection of its candidates into the various elective positions for the 2019 polls.
Contrary to the resolution during the APC National Executive Committee (NEC) that adopted direct primaries for only the president and indirect for other levels, the party yesterday adopted only direct for all categories of primaries.
This is even as indications emerged at the weekend that senators and governors of the APC may be gearing for a major battle over the decision to use both direct and indirect methods for the primaries.
Briefing newsmen after the NEC meeting, the governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong along his Kogi State counterpart, Yahaya Bello had on Thursday announced that the NEC unanimously agreed to adopt direct for president and indirect for other categories.
According to them, “The constitution of the party provides for either direct, indirect or consensus but for the presidential election primaries, we will adopt direct. For other elections, there are two options, however the general option is that we go for indirect primaries.”
However, in what appeared to be a counter reaction to the resolution of NEC as presented by the governors on Thursday, the National Working Committee (NWC) yesterday changed the decision, announcing that the party is adopting direct primaries in all the categories of the primaries.
Briefing newsmen in Abuja yesterday (Friday), the Ag. National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, lamented that the resolution on the mode of the party primaries has been subjected to interference and misleading interpretations.
He said: “The resolution of the APC NEC on the mode of Primary Election has been subject to inference and misleading interpretations. As an update to the earlier released statement, we wish to make the following clarifications on NEC’s resolutions on mode of primary election. Primary elections into all elective offices shall be by Direct Primaries. NEC resolved to adopt Direct Primaries for the nomination of the Presidential candidate and all other Primaries.
“The Party’s constitution though provides for Indirect Election and Consensus, however, the use of Indirect Primaries is conditional and dependent on logistic impediments; peculiarities and need of a given state that makes it unable to use Direct Primaries. The State Executive Committee (SEC) shall in consultation with aspirants and other critical stakeholders of the party in a given state forward for the consideration and approval by the NWC, if Indirect Primaries is to be adopted.
“The adopted mode shall now be applied to all categories of the Party’s Primary Elections i.e. State Assembly, Senate, House of Representatives and for the Governorship Elections. The request for Indirect Primaries must be signed by majority of the State Executive Committee and critical stakeholders in attendance at the meeting where such resolution is reached.
“Direct Primaries will among others ensure fairness; create a level playing ground for contestants; eliminate corrupt tendencies usually associated with the delegates system and ultimately ensure full participation of party members at all levels.”
Meanwhile, at the weekend, indications emerged that APC senators and governors may be heading for a major battle over the primaries of the party.
The senators sensing a threat to their re-election ambitions are kicking against the earlier decision of the party leadership to use the direct primaries for the presidency and indirect method for governors and other positions.
A top member of the APC on condition of anonymity told Saturday Sun that many Senators are angry that whereas the leadership of the party recommended direct primaries to appease those who wanted to defect to other parties, an indirect method was suggested for the primaries of the Senators who remained loyal to the party.
He said many of the Senators felt deceived by the APC leadership and are gearing up for a showdown with the governors over the primaries of the party. But Speaking on the development, Senators Kabiru Marafa from Zamfara State told Saturday Sun that since the party has revealed that states in crises are allowed to decide which option to go with, he was confident that governors who are at war with party chieftains will not have their way.
He said: “The Deputy National Chairman for North West of APC, in an interview I listened to on BBC Hausa Service, said states where there are crises, the party leadership can determine which option to adopt between direct and indirect primaries. In my state where there is crisis, we will have parallel primaries. During the congresses, we came up with two factions in Zamfara State. We will conduct direct primaries. The faction loyal to the Governor can conduct indirect primaries. I am already in court. In the end, the court will decide which one is legitimate.
“I am glad that the party is going for the direct primaries in electing the President. Let Nigerians who are members of APC decide his fate. I don’t trust the governors. They can work against the President. One thing is sure. These primaries will bring more crisis to the party.”
Senator John Enoh from Cross River state, on his part, said: “I am for anyone the party adopts. They have not adopted anyone yet. But if they go for direct or indirect primaries, I will support anyone. I don’t have any problems.”
But the former APC National Legal Adviser, Dr Muiz Banire, has warned that the recent adoption of direct primaries by the party to pick candidates for election is a good development but nobody should rejoice yet because there are still dangers ahead.
He said for the APC to switch from indirect mode of primaries to direct primaries, they will still need the approval of the party’s National Executive Committee.
He explained that in all states of the federation, right from the ward level, there would be an update of party register and members, and the way to do this is to give some measures of integrity to it, to display it which is also another imperative.
The immediate past chairman, Lagos State APC, Chief Henry Ajomale, commended the National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu over the newly adopted direct primaries’ mode of picking the party’s candidates for elections.